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Topic: How do you swatch for lace? (About to start my first lace project ever)  (Read 633 times)
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Also known as Aeramel
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« on: August 13, 2011 10:07:36 AM »

How do you swatch for lace?  I understand that the finished piece needs to be blocked to get the final shape, so the swatch should be blocked.  But how much can I expect it to stretch out?

I'm about to start my first lace shawl, http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEss10/PATTannis.php to be exact.  I have a skien of Malabrio lace that I want to use.  I only have the one which I recieved as a gift ages ago.  Guage is 15 stitches and 22 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch after blocking for the shawl.  I cast on 15sts and it was barely 2 inches.  Should I expect it to stretch out to 4 inches after blocking? I understand it will stretch some but 1.5 to 4 inches seems like a ways to go.  I also have only the one skien and don't want to loose to much of it to swatching.

Interested in personal swaps; offering knits for eco baby and mama items.
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011 07:49:51 AM »

With any swatch you should CO more sts than given in the gauge; you're not supposed to be trying for a 4" square but find out how many sts in 4". For lace it's easier to measure by repeats, and I think this one has 12 or 14 sts in it. So CO about 30 sts, do a couple edge sts and 2 repeats of the lace pattern. With your Mal lace it'll grow a lot so do stretch out the swatch when you block it. As long as you're close, say the 2 repeats measure about 7-8" across, you'll be fine; a shawl isn't as crucial on gauge as a sweater. If it's not that width, however, and you only get 5-6", then you need to go up a needle size. That's the main point of a gauge swatch for a shawl - to see which needle to use. You can reuse your swatch btw, once you determine what size needle you need. You don't need to cut the swatch yarn off, just leave it attached while you block it.

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